Monday, June 24, 2013

Spring Rolls with peanut hoisin sauce

Spring rolls are pretty much my go to recipe if I want something light and on the healthier end. This is makes a great lunch or dinner in the summer when it's too hot to think about being in the kitchen too long. It also makes a great appetizer for any dinner party. 

Vietnamese food is all about what you have on hand. There are endless combination of what you can put in the rolls and the sauce you can dip it in. I remember childhood dinners where my family and I would sit around and roll endless number of spring rolls. Everyone had to roll their own - there were always competition for who had made the "perfect" roll. 

Traditional spring rolls, at least the way my mom would make them, included greens, herbs, some vermicelli, cucumbers and your choice of shrimp or thinly sliced pork belly. I'm not a fan of vermicelli - I think it's unnecessary carbs. I'd rather cash in my carb credit for some warm bread instead. Because I usually am making spring rolls on the fly, I use whatever greens I have on hand - spinach, arugula, spring greens, lettuce. Yup, they all go in there. The recipe below is a starter recipe - add/ subtract whatever you have on hand that day. It's really that simple.

Getting ready to roll - you to evenly distribute the greens but leave an inch on both sides to tuck over. 
Shrimp spring rolls with peanut hoisin sauce. 


Peanut sauce:
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter (I like the crunchy types because it adds some texture to the sauce, but you can use creamy if you want)
2 tbs water
Sriracha or chili optional (I used jalapenos this time)

Combine ingredients and stir! Yes it's that easy. Warm in microwave for ~30 seconds - 1minute to make the ingredients combine better - the sauce will be smoother. Add more peanut butter or hoisin sauce to taste. My usually combination is closer to 1:1.

*If you're feeling fancy that day, mince a clove of garlic. In a small pan on medium heat, sautee the garlic with some vegetable oil (olive oil imparts too strong a flavor) until light golden brown. Then add the hoisin sauce, peanut butter and water. Take the pan off the heat and combine. The garlic adds a nice earthiness and smells amazing.

Spring rolls:
bowl of warm water
rice paper
greens (I use 50:50 spinach and spring greens)
1 cucumber sliced longitudinally into 1 inch strips
shrimp - deshelled and boiled 

1. Dip a piece of rice paper into warm bowl of water - either rotate it or completely immerse it. Remove quickly - you don't it too wet.

2. Lay the wet rice paper on a flat surface - I use a plate. Make sure the rice paper is not folded onto itself and is completely flat. 

3. Arrange a handful of greens on top of the rice paper, towards the top. Add whatever herbs or extra vegetables you like. I like cucumbers for the added crunch - you can use thinly sliced carrots as well. Add shrimp or tofu - spread evenly across your greens.

4. Roll! Roll the top down, then fold in the sides and keep rolling. Use your fingers to tuck in the greens as you go. 

5. Don't place the rolls too close to each other as they'll stick to each other and rip apart - not a fun end to all your hard work. 


  1. Thanks Anthony! You should try it and tell me if the recipe works out for you =)

  2. Lovely work! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is all about sauces? This is the link . I do hope to see you there. There are already quite a lot of links for you to check out. Cheers